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P V Sindhu loses to Carolina Marin in final, ends up with silver

World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

P. V. Sindhu
P. V. Sindhu
World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games here today.
 
It was Marin almost all the way in the match, barring the later stages of the first game, when Sindhu came from behind at 12-16 to first come up on level and then reel off five points in a row to win at 21-16.
 
But, overall, the 21-year-old was up against a much better player today as the Spaniard played aggressively almost throughout and controlled the proceedings.
 
This was the first time that an Indian had made it to the badminton singles final and the silver that Sindhu won today is an improvement on the bronze won by her teammate Saina Nehwal at the London Olympics in 2012.
 
Sindhu, appearing in her first Olympics, managed to stay level with Marin in the opening minutes but was soon behind at 2-5, 5-9 and then 6-12 as the Spaniard attacked well, both from the baseline and the net, and kept her rival moving all over court.
 
The Indian, however, fought back to narrow the gap at 16-17 but Marin then moved ahead to 19-16 with a powerful shot to Sindhu's backhand. A series of unforced errors by Marin helped Sindhu pull up at 19-19 and the Indian quickly picked up two more points to win at 21-19 before the Spaniard quite realised what had happened. Sindhu had scored five points in a row at that stage, reminding spectators of the manner in which she had reeled off 11 points in a row in the second game of yesterday's semi-final against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, which she had won 21-19, 21-10.
 
Marin, an amazingly fast mover on the court, appeared more determined in the second game as she quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead, which she widened to 10-2 and then 11-4 before Sindhu could settle down.
 
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Sindhu fought back briefly, defending wll and come up some good shots at the net, to make it 7-14 but Marin, with superb angled shots, beautiful wrist work and deft placements, ensured that she stayed ahead, moving to 18-10 and then sealing the game at 21-12.
 
Marin began the decider on an aggressive note, grabbing a 7-4 lead. Again, Sindhu clawed her way back into the game by equalising at 10-10. The two players crossed over with Marin having a slender 11-10 advantage.
 
Sindhu kept up the fight but could not quite catch up and was behind at 14-16 from where Marin managed six points in a row to end up with six match points and prevailed finally at 21-15 to win the gold -- the first European woman to achieve the distinction in badminton at the Olympics. Sindhu is the first Indian woman to win a silver at the Olympics.
 
Sindhu has, in the process, become the fourth Indian to win an Olympic siver. The first was shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in 2004, followed by shooter Vijay Kumkar and wrestler Sushil Kumar, both in 2008.
 
The silver helped India to move up to the 57th place in the medals tally table.
 
“I played well. I wanted to win, but I could not," Sindhu said after the match. “I am proud of what I have achieved.  Silver is no  mean achievement in  the Olympics."
 
“It was a tough encounter  and I gave my best," Sindhu said. “Marin is a very good player she played well. I tried to stop her in the third, but could not but I am not complaining.
 
“Every player wants to win and, in my heart of hearts, I was also thinking that only one match is left for the gld but that  turned out to be elusive.
 
“Never mind, it was a good match. I never thought I will ever play in the Olympic final. I am happy with the silver I got," she added.
 
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ICC World T20: New Zealand stun India by 47 runs

New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Nagpur on Tuesday night.

 
New Zealand stun India, win by 47 runs
 
New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here tonight.
 
The hosts appeared to have done well when they restricted New Zealand to 126 for seven in their 20 overs after the Kiwis' skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.
 
But they then managed to bowl out the Indians for just 79 in 18.1 overs to maintain their all-win record against India in T20 internationals, winning all the five matches they have met in so far. The shabby batting performance by the Indians was clearly no match for the might of the New Zealand bowling today.
 
Chasing what appeared to be an easy target, both the Indian openers departed under 10 runs. Shikhar Dhawan (1) was the first to go, trapped leg before wicket by Nathan McCullum.
 
Rohit Sharma followed him in the third over after making just five runs. He tried to take on Mitchell Santer, only to be removed by a stumping by Luke Ronchi. Suresh Raina (1) followed him into the pavilion in the same over. The south paw tried to flick the ball past mid-wicket only to play it too high and was caught by a waiting Martin Guptill at short mid-wicket.
 
Circumstances turned worse when Yuvraj Singh (4) followed within the power play, giving a return catch to Mccullum. Kohli who tried to build the innings with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni departed at the start of the ninth over.
 
By this time India were 39/5 and had bleak hopes of regaining control of the match.
 
Soon the rest of the tail tumbled for a feeble 79/10 in 18.1 overs. Except Dhoni (30), Kohli (23) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10), none of the other batsmen could cross into double digits.
 
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The New Zealnd bowlers had a great day in the field with the ball. Slow-left-arm bowler Santer topped the bowling chart with figures of four for 11 with an economy of 2.75. This was backed up by Ish Sodhi who clamed three wickets for 18 in his four overs. Santer was chosen Player of the Match.
 
Earlier, things did not appear to be going to well for the Kiwis as they made first use of the pitch.
 
Opener Guptill smashed the first ball of the match from Ashwin for a straight six. But the off-spinner got even two balls later, trapping the batsman leg before wicket.
 
Colin Munro, who replaced him, departed after making just seven an over later, top-edging Ashish Nehra's ball to wide mid-on.
 
From then on, the Indian bowling attack struck home in terms of both picking up wickets at regular intervals and also restricting the Kiwis' run tally. 
 
Both Raina and Ravindra Jadeja completed their four overs with figures of one for 15 as the Indians came up with a good all-round perfomrnance in the field.
 
Dhoni took a catch off Jadeja and did a stumping as well and two brilliant runouts by Raina and Dhawan added to New Zealand's woes.
 
Corey Anderson stood out in the batting order, scoring 34 runs, and Luke Ronchi  scored 21 off 11 balls to take the side's total to 126 for seven at the end of 20 overs.
 
Scoreboard:
New Zealand innings (20 overs maximum)
MJ Guptill lbw b Ashwin 6
KS Williamson st Dhoni b Raina 8
C Munro c Pandya b Nehra 7
CJ Anderson b Bumrah 34
LRPL Taylor run out (Raina) 10
MJ Santner c †Dhoni b Jadeja 18
GD Elliott run out (Dhawan/Nehra) 9
L Ronchi not out 21
NL McCullum not out 0
Extras (b 4, lb 3, w 6) 13
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 126 (6.30 runs per over)
Did not bat: AF Milne, IS Sodhi
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Guptill, 0.2 ov), 2-13 (Munro, 1.3 ov), 3-35 (Williamson, 6.5 ov), 4-61 (Taylor, 11.3 ov), 5-89 (Anderson, 15.4 ov), 6-98 (Santner, 16.4 ov), 7-114 (Elliott, 19.3 ov)
Bowling
R Ashwin 4 0 32 1
A Nehra 3 1 20 1
JJ Bumrah 4 0 15 1
SK Raina 4 0 16 1
RA Jadeja 4 0 26 1
HH Pandya 1 0 10 0
 
India innings (target: 127 runs from 20 overs)
RG Sharma st Ronchi b Santner 5
S Dhawan lbw b McCullum 1
V Kohli c Ronchi b Sodhi 23
SK Raina c Guptill b Santner 1
Yuvraj Singh c & b McCullum 4
MS Dhoni c McCullum b Santner 30
HH Pandya lbw b Santner 1
RA Jadeja c & b Sodhi 0
R Ashwin st Ronchi b Sodhi 10
A Nehra b Milne 0
JJ Bumrah not out 0
Extras (w 3, nb 1) 4
Total (all out; 18.1 overs) 79 (4.34 runs per over)
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Dhawan, 0.5 ov), 2-10 (Sharma, 2.2 ov), 3-12 (Raina, 2.5 ov), 4-26 (Yuvraj Singh, 4.5 ov), 5-39 (Kohli, 8.1 ov), 6-42 (Pandya, 9.4 ov), 7-43 (Jadeja, 10.2 ov), 8-73 (Ashwin, 16.3 ov), 9-79 (Dhoni, 17.4 ov), 10-79 (Nehra, 18.1 ov)
Bowling
NL McCullum 3 0 15 2
CJ Anderson 3 0 18 0
MJ Santner 4 0 11 4
GD Elliott 2 0 9 0
AF Milne 2.1 0 8 1
IS Sodhi 4 0 18 3
 
Toss - New Zealand, who chose to bat
Points - New Zealand 2, India 0
Player of the match - MJ Santner (New Zealand)
 
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SC appoints Gavaskar to oversee IPL as interim BCCI chief, Yadav to handle other functions

The Supreme Court on Friday appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the BCCI to oversee the IPL in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.

 
BCCI counsel welcomes SC verdict
The Supreme Court today appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to oversee the Indian Premier League (IPL) in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
 
The apex court also said that all other functions of the BCCI president would be handled by another former cricketer, Shivlal Yadav, who is the seniormost vice-president of the BCCI. He represents the South Zone, the zone represented by Mr Srinivasan.
 
The court also allowed the two teams, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), to participate in the seventh season of IPL beginning April 16. Both teams are being investigated for alleged involvement in the betting and spot-fixing scandal.
 
A two-judge bench comprising Mr Justice A K Patnaik and Mr Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla posted the matters before them, arising out of two petitions, for further hearing to April 16 and noted that it would take some more days after that for the hearing to be completed and for judgement to be delivered.
 
They noted that Mr Srinivasan had made a written offer through his counsel that, till investigation into which the allegations against him is completed, he will not discharge any of the functions of the post.
 
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar in one of the petitions, had submitted that no further investigation into the allegations against Mr. Srinivasan is necessary as the findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, appointed by the court, and the materials relied on by the said committee for the findings were sufficient for the court to remove Mr. Srinivasan from the post of BCCI president as prayed in the petition before the Bombay High Court.
 
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"As we are yet to hear all the parties in these matters, we cannot at this stage form any opinion and pass orders on the basis of such opinion for removal of Mr. Srinivasan from the post of the President of the BCCI. 
 
"The IPL 2014 is, however, scheduled to commence on 16th April, 2014 and we have to pass interim orders to ensure that all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with the IPL Rules," the judges said.
 
"Considering the fact that Mr. Sunil Gavaskar was a cricket player of great repute and eminence, a captain of the Indian cricket team for a long period and has a wide experience in cricket related activities and of men and matters, we appoint him, as an interim measure, to function as and exercise
the powers of the President of the BCCI in relation to the IPL, 2014 till we hear and deliver the judgment in these matters. We make it clear that
with regard to all other matters of BCCI, the senior most Vice-President of the BCCI, Mr. Shiv Lal Yadav, will discharge the functions of the President of the
BCCI. 
 
"We also direct that till we deliver the judgment, none of the employees of India Cement Limited or its associate companies (except cricket players or commentators) will perform any of the duties assigned to them by the BCCI and the Interim President, Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, will have power to engage the services of such persons on whom he has confidence for work in connection with the IPL 2014," the order said.
 
The court said that it was upto Mr Gavaskar to decide as to whether Mr Sundar Raman, also an employee of India Cement, Should continue as Chief Operating Officer of IPL or not.
 
"In case of any difficulty, Mr. Gavaskar may apply to this Court for appropriate orders," the judges said.
 
They also said that Mr Gavaskar would not work as a commentator during this period as an interim president of the BCCI in relation to IPL matters, and that he would be adequately compensated for the loss of income by the BCCI.
 
The compensation amount would be determined after the court resumes hearing in the matter on April 16.
 
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"We make it clear that we have not passed any order preventing any player or any team from participating in the IPL Tournament 2014," the court added.
 
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday said that Mr Srinivasan should step aside till the IPL probe is over and given it time until yesterday to come up with a proposal in this regard.
 
The BCCI yesterday told the court that Mr Srinivasan was willing to do so and that it was keen that the probe be completed expeditiously so that the whole episode could be put behind and it could move forward.
 
The Supreme Court proposed yesterday that Mr Srinivasan should step down and an eminent cricketer such as Mr Gavaskar be appointed in his place till it gave its final verdict in the IPL case.
 
It had also proposed that CSK and RR should not be part of IPL 7 and that no peson associated with India Cements, the company headed by Mr Srinivasan, should be allowed to function in any capacity in the BCCI.
 
The court had given the BCCI time until today to consider the proposals before it gave its interim order in the matter.
 
In the orders issued today, CSK and RR were allowed to participate in the tournament. 
 
The decision to ask Mr Yadav to handle the duties of the president of BCCI, other than those related to IPL, is in keeping with its rules which require that its head should be a member of the body.
 
Mr Srinivasan is the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of India Cements, which owns CSK, one of the eight teams in the tournament.
 
His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was a member of the CSK team management, was arrested by the Mumbai Police in May 2013 as part of their probe into alleged spot-fixing and betting in the sixth season of IPL.
 
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the captain of CSK, is a senior employee of India Cements, as are some others associated with IPL and BCCI.
 
Mr Srinivasan had last year stepped aside as the BCCI chief to facilitate the investigations into the allegations, but was, on September 29, 2013 re-elected to the position.
 
The Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee's report, which was handed over to the Supreme Court on February 10 this year, is understood to have said that the allegations against Mr Meiyappan needed to be probed further.
 
The court had appointed the committee on October 8 last year to investigate the alleged scam.
 
Some players of Rajasthan Royals, including Indian bowler S Sreesanth, had been arrested for their alleged role in the spot-fixing scam.
 
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India bags 4 more golds, slides to 3rd place in medals table

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India bagged up four more gold medals - 3 in boxing and 1 in table tennis - as it raised its tally to 36 golds but dropped to third place in the medals table in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Wednesday.

India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.

Indian boxers Paramjeet Samota, Manoj Kumar and Suranjoy Mayengbam and men's table tennis pair of Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha picked up gold medals as the hosts raised their tally to 36 gold medals on the penultimate day of the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts, however, found themselves pushed to third place in the medals table, with 36 golds, 26 silvers and 34 bronzes.

England pushed past them to the second slot with 37 golds, 56 silvers and 45 bronzes while Australia was unassailable at the top with 72 golds, 50 silvers and 47 bronzes.

The day also brought some shame for the home contingent with athlete Rani Yadav, who had competed in the women's 20 km walk, testing positive for a banned substance during an anti-doping test. She has been suspended from the Games, pending the result of a B sample test in the next 48 hours.

Samota capped India's best-ever showing in boxing at the Commonwealth Games as he outpointed Tariq Abdul Haqq of Trinidad and Tobago 5-1 in the men's heavy weight (91 kg) event in the final bout of competition this evening.

The Indian, who had bagged the bronze at the Asian Championships in Zhuhai, China last year, dominated the bout from the word go. He was leading 3-0 in the first round and increased it to 5-0 by the ed of the second, finishing with a 5-1 decision.

Before him, Manoj Kumar upset the more experienced Bradley Saunders of England in the light welterweight (64 kg) category 11-2. Saunders is a European Championships gold medallist.

Kumar, 24, worked up a 4-1 lead after the first round and widened it further to 8-1 going into the last round.

Earlier, Suranjoy won his flyweight (52kg) bout by walkover when Benson Njangiru of Kenya pulled out with a wrist injury.

India ended the competition with three gold and four bronze medals. Northern Ireland won three gold and England two, while Scotland and Sri Lanka took one each. This was India's best showing in boxing in the Commonwealth Games. They had won one gold each in 2002 and 2006.

Top-seeded Achanta and Saha sent the crowd at the packed Yamuna Sports Complex into raptures as they beat second-seeded Gao Ning and Yang Zi of Singapore 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8 in the final of the men's doubles event in table tennis.

The Singapore dictated the pace in the early stages and wrapped up the first set 11-9. But the crowd egged the local pair on and Achanta and Saha played brilliantly to take the next two sets 12-10 and 11-4. Gao and Yang took the match into a fifth set by winning the fourth 11-5 before Achanta and Saha settled the issue by winning the next set 11-8.

This is the first time that India has won the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games.

"In 2006 we went out of competition as underdogs. No one recognised us in the men's doubles competition in 2006. I was full of pride, so happy that I was finally able to do it. The government and our country has helped us a lot and the best way we can repay them is with a win today. Our aim was that our flag should fly high and we accomplished it," he said.

About his loss in the men's singles semi-finals to Yang earlier in the day, he said, "I lost the match today with close points. The competition was really tough. I wasn't able to forget my defeat today. It was really a hard phase today. I had just three hours to get rid of the thought that I was defeated today."

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India grab 6 more golds to take Games tally to 20, stay in 2nd place

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India won 6 more golds - 3 in shooting, 2 in wrestling and 1 in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Friday,

India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

India won six more golds - three in shooting, two in wrestling and one in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table on the fifth day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.


The hosts have so far managed 20 golds, 16 silvers and 12 bronzes. Australia are at the top of the table with 47 golds, 24 silvers and 27 bronzes, while England remained in the third place with 19 golds, 37 silvers and 20 bronzes.


The day started on a happy note for India with the trio of Deepika Kumari, Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi Laishram coming from behind to stun England 207-206 and taking the top slot in the Women's Team Recurve event in archery.


A little later, ace shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan won the gold in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event.


Their compatriot Vijay Kumar, 25, set a new Games Final Record to win gold, notching up 787.5 points in the Singles 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men event. He had earlier broken his own Games Qualification Record with a score of 583 points.


Alka Tomar defeated Tonya Verbeek of Canada in the 59 kg Women's Freestyle wrestling event at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.


She was followed by Anita, who beat Megan Buydens of Canada in the final of the 67 kg Women's Freestyle to take the gold.


"I've been through two months of hard training. After this win I'm more confident for future events like that," she said later.


India got their sixth gold medal of the day when shooter Omkar Singh won the Singles 10m Air Pistol Men with a score of 681.8. Bin Gai of Singapore took the silver with 676.2 while Daniel Repacholi of Australia got the bronze with 674.


Omkar Singh had picked up the gold in the company of Gurpreet Singh in the Men's 10m Air Pistol Pairs, notching up 1163 points for a new Games record. On Wednesday, he had won the Men's 50m Pistol Singles and taken the silver in the Men's 50m Pistol Pairs with Deepak Sharma on Tuesday.


Ashish Kumar, who won a bronze in the Men's Floor Exercise yesterday to earn for India its first ever medal in Gymnastics in the Commonwealth Games, won the silver in the men's vault today.


"I am disappointed at not getting the gold medal, but at least I have the experience of competing at this level. My first vault was the highest, but on the second I lost it," he said later.


Gymnast Ashish Kumar
Gymnast Ashish Kumar

The gold went to England's Luke Fowell, who had a score of 15.762 points. Kumar scored 16.150 points on his first attempt but then got a disappointing 14.475 on his second vault for an overall tally of 15.312. Ian Galvan of Canada got the bronze with a score of 15.037.


India had never won a medal in gymnastics before yesterday at the Olympics, World Championships or the Commonwealth Games.


Gurpreet Singh, who had won two golds yesterday in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Pairs and 10m Air Pistol Pairs, won the bronze in the event. Malaysia's Hasli Izwan Amir Hassan took the silver with a score of 760.3.


Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh grabbed silver in the Men's Trap Pairs event in shooting with a score of 197. The gold went to Australian pair Michael Diamond and Adam Vella, who notched up 198 for a new Games record.


In tennis, India were assured of a gold or silver in both the men's and women's singles with top seed Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza winning their semi-final matches today.


Devvarman beat Australia's Matt Ebden 6-3, 6-1 and will meet Greg Jones, also of Austrlia, in the final on Sunday.


Mirza dropped a set but then staged a strong comeback in front of a partisan home crowd on Central Court to prevail 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Olivia Rogowska of Australia. She will meet the winner of the other semi-final between two Australians, Anastasia Rodionova and Sally Peers.


"That was a fantastic win. My heart is beating really fast. It hasn't sunk in," Mirza said after the match.


"I'm happy with the way I fought because in the match I didn't play that well. I knew I just needed to fight and come up with something different. I just had to hang in there," she said.


There was disappointment for the home crowds in the men's doubles with Rohan Bopanna and Devvarman going down 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to Ross Hutchins and Ken Skupski of England and Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes losing 2-6, 2-6 to Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak of Australia in the semi-finals.


India's Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai won the bronze in the Men's Team Recurve in archery today, beating England for the third position.


In wrestling, Babita Kumari of India had to settle for silver in the women's freestyle 51 kg event after losing the final to Ifeoma Christi Nwoye of Nigeria in the final.


The Indian women's hockey team drubbed Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 after losing 1-2 to Australia yesterday.


In boxing, Jai Bhagwan thrashed Nasser Mafuru of Tanzania 11-2 in the lightweight (60 kg) and Dilbag Singh beat Aaron Prince of Trinidad and Tobago 11-3 in the welterweight (69 kg).


India lost to New Zealand in the women's pairs of the lawn bowls competition and found themselves pushed to fifth place and unlikely to make the play-offs.


In squash, Anwesha Reddy of India beat Zephanie Curgenven of Guernsey 11-5, 11-5 5-11, 6-11, 11-6 in the women's singles Consolation Plate Final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.


Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

For shooter Narang, it was his third gold medal of the meet so far and the second in the pairs. He had earlier won the men's 10m Air Rifle Pairs event along with Abhinav Bindra and then in the 10m Air Rifle Men's Singles event.


In the process, Narang became the fifth person to win seven gold medals in shooting in the Commonwealth Games. He is the first male athlete to win three gold medals at the current edition of the Games in Delhi.


Narang and Khan finished with a tally of 2325, a Games record, to beat James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England, who had a total of 2308 in the finals at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range.


At the Yamuna Sports Complex, the England women archers had maintained a slender lead for most of the tie today but found themselves in a position where they needed to score 15 points with just two arrows left to overtake the Indians.


Amy Oliver managed only six with her last shot and Alison Williamson needed a 10 off her final arrow but hit an eight to hand the Indian team the gold.


India's compound archers had won a silver in the men's and a bronze in the women's team events yesterday.


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India grabs 5 golds to climb to 2nd spot in medals tally at Commonwealth Games

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India grabbed five gold medals to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Tuesday.

Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

India grabbed five gold medals -- with two pairs of shooters hitting the bull's eye and wrestlers snatching all three titles at stake -- to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts started the day on a bright note as Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and world record holder Gagan Narang won the first gold of the Games for them in the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

They shot a total of 1,193 out of a maximum 1,200 points to snatch victory. Bindra scored 595 while Narang scored 598.

Shortly afterwards, Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayeed set a Games record of 1,156 points to win gold in the women's 25 m Pistol Pairs.

The action then shifted to the wrestling arena at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, where in the men's Greco-Roman style, Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar snatched gold in their respective categories.

Ravinder beat England's Christopher Terence Bosson 7-2 in the 60 kg category after which Sanjay prevailed over Brian Richard Addinall 2-0 in the 74 kg category. Anil Kumar brought more cheers for the home team by outperforming Hassene Fkiri of Australia 6-0 in the final of the 96 kg category.

India's medals haul today also included two silvers won by Deepak Sharma and Omkar Singh in the men's 50 m pistol pairs event and Tejaswini Sawant and Lajjakumari Gauswami in the 50 m rifle 3 position.

India's tally now stands at 5 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronzes. India's women lifters Sonia Chanu and Sandhya Rani Devi gave India their first two medals - a silver and a bronze in the 48 kg class yesterday, followed by a silver and bronze by their male counterparts Sukhen Dey and V Srinivasa Rao in the 56 kg class.

In shooting, Sarnotbat achieved an average of 9.733 points while Sayeed averaged 9.533 in the session. For India, it was the second successive gold in this event, having won in the Melbourne Games in 2006, too.

Australia's Linda Ryan and Lalita Yauhleuskaya bagged silver with 1,146 points while Gorgs Geikie and Julia Lydall of England took the bronze with 1,122 points.

Onkar Singh and Deepak Sharma won a silver for India in the 50 m Air Pistol Pair event.

In the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs event, James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England took the silver with 1,174 points while Hel Abdullah Baki and Asif Hossain Khan of Bangladesh got the bronze with 1,173 points.

With today's victory, Bindra completed a treble in the event, having won golds earlier at the Manchester Commonealth Games in 2002 and at Melbourne in 2006. It was his fourth gold medal in shooting in the Games.

For Narang, it was his fifth gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, having won gold in the last three editions.

Bindra and Narang today broke their own Games record of 1,189 set in Melbourne four years ago.

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

Narang notched a sequence of 99, 100, 100, 99, 100, 100 while Bindra ended up with a series of 100, 98, 99, 100, 99, 99

In tennis, top seed Somdev Devvarman of India won 6-4, 6-2 in his opening match against Devin Mullings of the Bahamas but he looked ill at ease. "I was a little nervous. I did well to come back," he told reporters latr.

"Playing in India is a special feeling. It doesn't matter what seed you are. When you're playing something as big as this, it's a lot more special. You win for your country, then yourself," he added.

In the men's doubles, top seeded Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi of India cruised into the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Thangarajah Dineshkanthan and Amresh Jayawickreme in the first round.

In the women's doubles, Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree reached the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih of the Maldives.

In archery, top seed Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar of India reached the last eight in the men's recurve as did Deepika Kumari and Dola Banerjee in the women's event.

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India assured of five medals at 70th Strandja Memorial Boxing

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Defending champion Amit Panghal opened his campaign on a victorious note defeating Ukraine's Nazar Kurotch 3-2 to book a place in the semi- finals as Indian puglists assured the country of five medals in 70th Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Sunday., 
 
More than 300 boxers between the ages of 19 and 40, hailing from over 40 countries, are participating in the event.  
 
The Strandja Memorial, Europe’s oldest international amateur boxing  tournament, is the first competitive event of the season for the Indian pugilists.
 
According to information received here, the  Indian women pugilists are  also assured of four medals at the end of the third day at the prestigious competition.
 
Lovlina Borgohain, who won the bronze at last year's World Championship, put up a robust display to beat Brazil’s Soarez Beatriz in a unanimous 5:0 victory to assure the first medal for the women boxers. 
 
The Brazilian found no answer to Lov;ina's attacking game as she secured her place in the top four. 
 
Following suit was young boxer Manju Rani who served Bonati Roberta of Italy the same fate, thrashing her with a unanimous 5-0 verdict. Manju, the current National Champion in 48 kg category, sealed her berth in the semis. 
 
Former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) lived up to  the expectations as she outclassed Buryam Yana (BLR) with a 5-0 verdict and assured yet another medal for India.
 
In the day’s last game for the women boxers, Neeraj defeated Amelia Moore from USA with a similar result to confirm the fifth medal and berth in the semi-final.
 
2016 World Championship silver winner, Sonia Lather, however, succumbed to an unfortunate defeat going down to Ramirez Yarisel of USA by 4-1 in the 57 kg category on Sunday.
 
Earlier in the day, the men’s team too posted positive results.
 
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki (52kg) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Naman Tanwar (91kg) both advanced to the quarter-finals. 
 
Solanki, who had an easy opening-round victory a day earlier, was made to work hard for his win this time. 
 
In a highly competitive bout, he beat Kazakhstan’s Anvar Muzaparov by a 3-2 verdict en route to the last eight where he will meet Uzbekistan’s Khudoynazar  Fayzov, a 3-2 winner over Bulgaria’s Tinko Banabakov. 
 
The 22-year-old, who also triumphed at the India Open last year, was a silver medallist at the Strandja Memorial in 2018 and is looking to improve the colour of the medal this time.
 
Naman Tanwar put up a scintillating show too, blasting his way past Poland’s Michal Soczynski 5-0 into the quarter-finals. Up next for the Indian is Ukrainian Serhii Horskov, who trounced Darko Stankovic 5-0. 
 
India had its best-ever medal haul from this tournament last year when they grabbed an impressive total of 11 medals that included a couple of golds delivered by Vikas Krishan and Amit Panghal.
 
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Hockey India shortlists 34 players for Senior Men's national camp

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Hockey India on Saturday shortlisted 34-players for the national Camp to begin at the Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru on 18 February to prepare for the season's first tournament -- 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia starting on 23 March 2019. 
 
Hockey India has retained all 18 players who took part at the  World Cup, for the month-long camp that concludes on 18 March 2019.
 
"The team for the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be selected from this core group after a selection trial is held in Bengaluru in the last week of February,” said David John, High Performance Director, Hockey India.   
 
The list also features Sultan of Johor Cup Silver-medal winning India Colts Shilanand Lakra, Suman Beck, Mandeep Mor, Yashdeep Siwach, Vishal Antil and Gursahabjit Singh.
 
The youngsters have been credited for showing continued improvement and potential to match the standards at the senior level. 
 
Goalkeepers P R Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera and Krishan Bahadur Pathak have been named in the group along with defenders Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Pardeep Singh, Suman Beck, Mandeep Mor, Birendra Lakra and Rupinder Pal Singh. 
 
Midfielders Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Sumit, Simranjit Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Yashdeep Siwach and Vishal Antil have been called up. 
 
Among forwards, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Sumit Kumar, Gursahabjit Singh, Shilanand Lakra and SV Sunil have been called for the camp.
 
“I am happy to note that the junior players who have recently been inducted into the Senior Camp have shown significant improvement and that the depth in the group is strong." John added
 
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Badminton: Saina Nehwal, Sourabh Verma win men and women's National titles

File photo of Saina Nehwal
File photo of Saina Nehwal
In a  tense  battle  Saina Nehwal beat P V Sindhu 21-18, 21-15 to win her fourth title at the Yonex-Sunrise 83rd Senior National Badminton Championships 2018-19 here on Saturday.
 
 In men’s section, Sourabh Verma won his third Nationals title with a 21-18, 21-13 triumph over Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen.
 
The singles winners were awarded prize money of Rs. 3.25 lakh while the runners-up got Rs. 1.7 lakh. Each of the singles semi-finalists and the quarter-finalists got richer by Rs. 62,500 and Rs. 27,500 respectively.
 
The showdown between Saina and Sindhu, a repeat of their enthralling final from the previous edition, was undoubtedly the cynosure of all eyes at the packed stadium attended by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma among others.
 
Saina overcame an erratic start to slowly gain in confidence. After trailing 1-3, she drew level at 5-5 with husband Parupalli Kashyap egging her on. With not much to choose between the two, the hard-fought match continued to be even until 10-10. That was where Saina's brilliant movement and unwavering focus made a difference and the defending champion went up to 16-12.
 
Saina kept targeting the corners to keep Sindhu out of position and soon bagged the opening game.
 
A more aggressive approach from the tall Sindhu sent her up to 5-3 in the second game. The momentum soon swung Saina's way, who once more started restricting her opponent from playing her naturally attacking game.
 
With Sindhu's game collapsing into errors, a calm and steady Saina built a 12-9 advantage and soon extended it to 17-13 by pushing Sindhu to the backcourt and finding the opening for smashes. The persistent approach and her spectacular court coverage helped Saina wrap it up in 44 minutes.
 
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This was Saina’s fourth title after earlier triumphs in 2006, 2007 and 2017 while Sindhu had been looking to add to her 2011 and 2013 titles.
 
In men’s singles, Verma and Sen met in a repeat of their 2017 final. Even though Sen stormed out of the blocks, it was the patient Verma who once again mastered the younger player.
 
The 17-year-old made a fabulous start as he broke away from a 6-6 tie to race ahead to 11-6. Verma tried to prolong the rallies after that and took four points on the trot. After Sen smashed his way up to 15-13, his barrage of unforced errors cost him the lead and Verma's composure allowed him to go up to 18-16 and pocket the opening game.
 
Sen fought back to 4-4 from 0-3 down in the second game but once again could not do enough to make a dent in Sourabh’s confidence levels. The latter banked on his precision and control to surge to 11-7 before finishing in 44 minutes.
 
Verma thus tasted success at the Nationals for the third time following victories in 2011 and 2017. Sen had to remain content with a two-time runner-up show.
 
Having lost in the men’s doubles final with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in the last edition, Chirag Shetty made up for it this time in partnership with Pranaav Jerry Chopra. The second seeds upset the top seeds Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran 21-13, 22-20 to take the men’s doubles title.
 
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Golf: Udayan Mane emerges champion, Shubhankar, Mukesh share second place

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Pune-based Udayan Mane delivered a top-class final round of five-under-67 to win the Rs. 30 lakh PGTI Players Championship at the Classic Golf & Country Club in Nuh, Haryana, on Friday.
 
Pre –tournament favourite Shubhankar Sharma (70-68-69-67) finished joint runner-up at 14-under-274 while veteran Mukesh Kumar (71-69-69-65) of Mhow came up with a spirited 65, the best round of the day, to also bag tied second place on a topsy-turvy day that saw at least four players in the lead or the joint lead at different stages.
 
Mane, playing in only his fifth season as a professional, collected seven Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points for his seventh title.
 
The 27-year-old Udayan (71-64-71-67), who achieved his target total score of 15-under-273, climbed from fifth to second position in the 2019 PGTI Order of Merit and is likely to take a big jump in the world rankings from his current 962 when the updated list comes out on Monday.
 
Mane, lying overnight second, had hit his wedges to perfection all week. It was no different in the last round. He began the day with a 15-feet birdie conversion on the second before using his wedges to good effect once again to set up most of his birdies including those on the third, seventh, 10th, 12th and 15th.
 
The strapping Udayan, among the tallest Indian golfers at 6 feet 4 inches, also had three bogeys to show on day four. However, he made the all-important two-putt for birdie from the fringe of the 18th green and a distance of 35 yards to deliver the winning blow. Mane’s final putt was an eight-footer.
 
Sharma mixed six birdies with a bogey to take a share of second at his former home course.
 
The 53-year-old Mukesh Kumar, the sole leader at one stage on day four, enjoyed an error-free day but missed a two-footer for birdie on the 18th that proved to be decisive at the end.
 
22-year-old Veer Ahlawat (13-under-275) of Gurugram and 18-year-old rookie Kshitjit Naveed Kaul (12-under-276) of Delhi claimed fourth and fifth places, respectively.
 
Round three leader Sunit Chowrasia of Kolkata dropped to seventh place at 10-under-278 after a final round of 73.
 
Mane, whose home course is the Kalhaar Blues & Greens in Ahmedabad, said, “It’s now 7 for 7 which means seven points for my seventh title. So that’s special.
 
“It’s been a fabulous start to the season as I had a top-5 last week as well. I’ve been playing really well, having totalled 15-under for two weeks in succession. I hit my wedges even better this week and also converted more putts."
 
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Sachin leads Indian sports fraternity in paying homage to CRPF martyrs

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Former cricket star Sachin Tendulkar and champion boxer Vijender Singh led the sports fraternity of the country today in paying emotional tribute to the 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) killed in yesterday's terror attack in Pulwama, Kashmir.
 
"Cowardly, dastardly, meaningless...my heart goes out to the families of those who lost their loved ones and prayers for recovery of those bravehearts in hospital. Salute to your commitment to 'Service and Loyalty',” said Tendulkar.
 
Vijender Singh said, "Really pained by the cowardly attack on our CRPF in J&K in which our brave men have been martyred. No words are enough to describe the pain. I wish a speedy recovery to those injured." 
 
Cricket captain Virat Kohli expressed his feeling on his Twitter handle. "I'm shocked after hearing about the attack in Pulwama, heartfelt condolences to the martyred soldiers & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured jawans," he said.
 
Football team captain Sunil Chhetri prayed for the families of the soldiers who lost their lives in the attack. "Going through a range of emotions with regard to what's happened in Pulwama. Keeping all those aside for the moment and praying that the families of the soldiers find the courage to cope with a loss that should never have been," he wrote.
 
Hockey captain Manpreet Singh said, "It's a condemnable and cowardly act! Heartfelt condolences, strength, courage to the family and loved ones of martyred soldiers." 
 
Former Test cricketer Gautam Gambhir was more forthcoming in his condemnation. "Yes, let's talk with the separatists. Yes, let's talk with Pakistan. But this time conversation can't be on the table, it has to be in a battle ground. Enough is enough.."
 
Olympic medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal said, "Shocked to hear the news of the #Kashmir Terror attack. My sincere condolences to the families and friends of the martyred CRPF jawans." 
 
Asian Games gold medallist sprinter Hima Das said "Deeply saddened by the tragic attacks by the terrorists on our Jawans at #Pulwama. My thoughts and prayers with the families of the brave martyrs," she said.
 
"Shocked and horrified by what happened #Pulwama. The day we all celebrated love some cowards spread hatred. Thinking about the jawans and their families. India keep them in your prayers," cricketer Rohit  Sharma wrote on his Twitter page.
 
World Championship gold medallist weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu said, "A matter of great grief and anger as we lost our #Jawans at the #Pulwama attacks. My thoughts and prayers for the families of the martyrs. India will fight back." 
 
"Terribly saddened to hear the news of the #Pulwama attack. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," said  Olympic medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik.
 
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Rahul recalled, Karthik dropped, Markande lone new face in cricket squad

K L Rahul
K L Rahul
The national selectors on Friday recalled K L Rahul, dropped Dinesh Karthik and picked Andhra Pradesh rookie leg-spinner Mayank Markande as the lone new face for the ODI and T20I home series against Australia starting next week.
 
The T20Is will be played on February 24 and February 27 in Visakhapatnam and Bengaluru, respectively, followed by the ODI series starting in Hyderabad on March 2. 
 
Nagpur will host the second match on March 5, while Ranchi and Mohali will host the third and fourth games on March 8 and March 10, respectively. The final match will be played at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on March 13.
 
In view of the preparations for the upcoming ICC World Cup, the selectors named two different squads for the subsequent five-ODI series against the Australians. 
 
Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be in the squad for the last three matches, replacing Siddharth Kaul, who has  been included for the two T20Is and the first two 50-over games.
 
Young wicket-keeper Rishab Pant has retained his place in both the T20 and ODI squads.
 
Barring Karthik’s exclusion and Markande’s inclusion, the selection of the squad was predictable.
 
The 21-year-old Markande was picked up after his five-wicket haul, which enabled India A to an innings and 68-run victory over England Lions in the second unofficial Test.
 
Also, Rahul’s good showing for India A against England Lions in the two unofficial Tests, which concluded hours before the national selection committee met, sealed his place in the squad.
 
The two T20 Internationals and five ODIs will be the Indian team's last  international assignment before the World Cup, which begins in England on May 30.
 
India's squad for T20
 
Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Sidharth Kaul, Mayank Markande.
 
ODI squad:
 
For 1st and 2nd ODI:
 
Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohamed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul, K L Rahul
 
For  last three ODIs:
 
Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant.
 
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Golf: Kapil Kumar and Akshay Sharma hold joint lead on opening day

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Delhi’s Kapil Kumar and Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma with identical five-under-67 took the joint lead on the opening day of the PGTI Players Championship at the Classic Golf & Country Club at Nuh in Haryana today.
 
The trio of Delhi golfers Himmat Singh Rai and Naman Dawar and Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia were tied for third at four-under-68.
 
The country's  highest-ranked pro Shubhankar Sharma, who returned to play on the PGTI after over a year, mixed an eagle and two birdies with two bogeys to open his week with a two-under-70 that placed him tied 11th.  
 
Title contender Rashid Khan was tied 42nd at 72 as  Kapil Kumar, who finished 18th on the 2018 PGTI Order of Merit, was off to a solid start on Tuesday. The 26-year-old made the turn at two-under after leaving himself a few short birdie conversions.
 
Kapil, yet to register his first win, recovered well after a bogey on the 12th as he sank eagle-birdie-birdie on the 14th, 15th and 16th as a result of conversions from 10 to 15 feet. He finally ended the day with an impressive 67 after bogey-birdie on the last two holes.
 
Kapil said, “It was the driving and putting that clicked for me today. I also played some good chips. The four-under on the last five holes helped me close the day high on confidence. Putting will be the key this week. Whoever grabs most opportunities on the greens is set to score well.
 
"I’m carrying forward the positives from last season which was quite decent for me since I posted three top-6 finishes. I’ll look to perform even better this year.”
 
Akshay Sharma, a winner on the PGTI last year, strung together seven birdies and two bogeys in his round of 67.
 
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Chikkarangappa jumps 104 spots in world ranking after Golconda Masters win

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Introduction of  the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points on the PGTI, starting from last week,  has started  paying dividends  as the players finishing inside the top-5 at the season-opening Golconda Masters in Hyderabad made significant gains in the world rankings.
 
Chikkarangappa S, the Golconda Masters champion, who earned 5 world ranking points for his effort, took a massive leap of 104 spots as he climbed from 461 to 357.
 
The joint runners-up Aman Raj and M Dharma took 2.50 points each. While Aman moved up from 930 to 745, Dharma rose from 1010 to 798.
 
Karandeep Kochhar’s fourth place finish saw him collect 1.60 points that pushed him up from 908 to 790.
 
The trio of Honey Baisoya, Udayan Mane and Priyanshu Singh finished tied fifth and as a result pocketed 1.20 points each. Thus Baisoya went up from 887 to 803, Mane shot up from 1095 to 962 and Priyanshu made his first appearance on the rankings at 1558.
 
The stakes will now be higher at the season’s second event, this week’s PGTI Players Championship scheduled to be played at the Classic Golf & Country Club from February 12 to 15, 2019.
 
The participation of India’s highest-ranked golfer Shubhankar Sharma, currently ranked 119 in the world, has ensured an increased number of world ranking points for the PGTI Players Championship.
 
The break-up of the points will be as follows:
1st – 7, 2nd – 4.2,  3rd – 2.8, 4th – 2.1, 5th – 1.68, 6th – 1.4, 7th – 1.26
 
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India 'A' women’s hockey team beat France 'A' 2-0

Photo: Hockey India
Photo: Hockey India
Mumtaz Khan and Sharmila Devi scored a goal each to enable India 'A' women's hockey team to beat  France 'A'  2-0 in the third match here at the Mohammad Shahid Stadium here on Tuesday.
 
The match saw the visitors dominate in the opening minutes, but the Indian defence made sure that they did not allow their opposition to score the first goal. With two goalless quarters having passed, it was India who broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute. 
 
Lucknow's own young striker Mumtaz Khan registered her name on the score-sheet as she produced a very calm finish under pressure to give her team a 1-0 lead.
 
The French had several chances in the matches, but could not get past India's goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam. Some reflex saves from the Indian shot-stopper meant that India took their lead into the last quarter. 
 
An eventful last quarter saw both teams vie for the next goal of the match, but eventually it was India 'A' who were successful in their pursuit as they scored another field goal in the last minute of the match to extend their lead to 2-0, and take the third match.
 
The India 'A' women’s team will play their fourth and last match against France on Wednesday,  at the same venue.
 
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NRAI President confident of good showing by India at World Cup.

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National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh has expressed confidence about a good showing by the country’s shooters in the World Cup Rifle/Pistol to be held at the Karni Singh Shooting Range here from February 20 to 28.
 
The World Cup assumes significance as 16 Tokyo 2020 Olympics quotas are up for grabs in eight of the 10 scheduled medal events.
 
“We have a top fighting fit squad and a good mix of senior shooters and young turks, who have proved their mettle time and again in world class international competitions,” the NRAI chief told mediapersons in the presence of 10 of the 23 members of the  Indian team.
 
"I am confident of a good showing and we look to bag the maximum number of quotas possible. We have a top fighting fit squad and a good mix of senior shooters and young turks, who have proved their mettle time and again in world class international competitions," he said.
 
The shooters present were Apurvi Chandela (Women’s 10m Air Rifle & Mixed Team), Ravi Kumar (Men’s 10m Air Rifle & Mixed Team), Sanjeev Rajput (Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions), Rahi Sarnobat (Women’s 25m Pistol), Abhishek Verma (Men’s 10m Air Pistol), Saurabh Chaudhary (Men’s 10m Air Pistol & Mixed Team), Tejaswini Sawant (Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions), Anjum Moudgil (Women’s 10m Air Rifle), Deepak Kumar (Men’s 10m Air Rifle) and Adarsh Singh (Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol).
 
Hosts India will be fielding a 34-member squad, including 11 in the non-competition Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) category.
 
In all, 495 athletes from 58 nations will be converging in Delhi when competitions begin in right earnest with the first final slated for February 23.
 
A slew of top athletes of the sport including legends, reigning and former Olympic Champions, World Champions, Asian Games Champions, Commonwealth Games Champions and World Cup winners will enthrall fans of top quality Olympic sporting action.
 
Only the two Mixed Team events, one each in Air Rifle and Air Pistol, out of the 10 events will have no quotas on offer.
 
India have already bagged their maximum share of two country quotas in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle competition through Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela in the ISSF World Championship in Changwon last year. As such, these athletes will not be eligible for quotas. However, that does not stop them from winning a coveted World Cup medal.
 
India, therefore, will look to bag the maximum possible from the 14 quotas in seven events that they are eligible to win quotas in.
 
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India faces Iran in their opener of Hero Women’s Football Gold Cup

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India will take on Iran in their first match of the Hero Women’s Football Gold Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on February 9.
 
Along with India and Iran, the tournament will also feature Myanmar and Nepal.
 
The four-nation tournament, the first such competition for the Senior Women’s National team in India, is being organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in association with the Government of Odisha. 
 
According to AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, “the primary objective is to provide the best of exposure to the women’s team as they prepare for the second round of the Olympic Qualifiers in April.”
 
“The Hero Gold Cup is meant to provide additional opportunity for the Indian Women’s National Team to face other powerful teams in a competitive format. While our team has been playing in friendlies overseas, we feel hosting such a competition will boost the growing popularity of girls’ football in India. Football followers in India deserve a chance to witness our national team in action,” he said.
 
For the record, Myanmar are ranked 44 in the FIFA Women’s Ranking, followed by Iran on 60, and Nepal on 108, while the Indian team coached by Maymol Rocky, are on 62.
 
It was in November that the Blue Tigresses qualified for the second round of the AFC Olympic Qualifiers for the first time. As part of the optimal development and preparation of the squad, the team has already kicked off a campaign involving a series of friendly matches against national teams, where they have won their last four matches, two each against Hong Kong and Indonesia.
 
Vishal Kumar Dev, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Sports and Youth Department said the hosting of the tournament proves Odisha Government’s commitment towards promotion of sporting activities.
 
“It was a pleasure that AIFF came forward with the proposal for the Women’s Gold Cup. Odisha’s commitment towards sports,especially promotion of women’s football is well-known. Having hosted a successful Hockey World Cup, the Kalinga Stadium stands ready to welcome the women’s teams for the four-nation Gold Cup,” he said.
 
Fixtures:
 
February 9: Myanmar vs Nepal, India vs Iran
February 11:Myanmar vs Iran, India vs Nepal
February 13: Iran vs Nepal. India vs Myanmar
February 15: Final
 
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Priyanshu upsets Chaliha, moves into men's singles final in PSPB tourney

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Promising teenager Priyanshu Rajawat (IOCL) created a major upset as he ousted second seed Orijit Chaliha 10-21, 21-16, 21-13 to set up a title clash with Rahul Yadav (ONGC) in the men's singles of the 39th PSPB Inter Unit Badminton tournament at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy here on Thursday.
 
Yadav, number 1-ranked junior in the country,  routed number three-ranked Hirak Jyoti Neog 21-12, 21-10 in the other semi-final.
 
Priyanshu, who turns 17 tomorrow, lost the first game but came back strong and displayed a lot of flair in beating the experienced Chaliha.
 
In the women's singles, Uttejita Rao (IOCL) also had a comfortable run to the final. She overwhelmed Latha Kumari 21-6,21-15 in the first semi-final.
 
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India to host 2023 Cricket World Cup as scheduled: ICC CEO David Richardson

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday made it clear that the 2023 World Cup will be held in India as scheduled, rubbishing all the speculation regarding shifting of the venue.
 
ICC CEO David Richardson told mediapersons here that though the issue of tax exemption is still to be solved, the 2023 World Cup will be hosted by India.
 
"Getting tax exemptions is very important for world cricket because every cent that is made by the ICC revenue-wise is put back into the game. This helps countries like the West Indies who don't generate as much revenue," he said at an event to announce the ICC’s five-year partnership with Coco-Cola.
 
The Union Finance Ministry  did not give tax exemptions to the ICC when the country hosted the 2016 World T20 following which the ICC asked the BCCI to either pay $23 million (Rs 161 crore) as compensation or lose the 2023 World Cup rights.
 
"But having said that, there are no plans of shifting the venue (from India) and I'm sure we will get it (exemption) in the end. We've still got a lot of time," he said.
 
He admitted that the ICC is facing an ever-increasing threat of corruption in the game. “It's not just about anti-corruption but also about player conduct. In recent times, we have had several unruly incidents around the world and we have taken really firm steps there to make sure that everybody understands we need to protect the spirit of cricket."
 
"The ICC has adopted a more pro-active approach to take strict actions against certain frivolous individuals who move around trying to fix cricket matches. We are continuously trying to disrupt them as much as possible and the players are doing the right thing by reporting any incident," he said.
 
Asked about the schedule for the 2020 T20 World Cup in which India and Pakistan won't meet in the group stages for the first time since 2011, he said, "We have arranged the groups in a way that has credibility and is based on the ranking system. The teams are placed according to their ranks. In this case, Pakistan were number one in the rankings in their group and India number two,” replied Richardson.
 
"...we found no credible way of putting them in the same group. Hopefully from a world perspective they will meet each other in the semi-finals or final."
 
Richardson, who will step down after the World Cup in July, said convincing India to use DRS was a memorable achievement for him.
 
"Some things took a little longer than we'd like to implement. One of them was to convince India that DRS was a good thing. It probably took so long because in the first trial that we conducted, all the decisions seemed to go against India. So we had to convince Anil Kumble that it could work," he added.
 
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Star-studded ONGC win men and women’s titles in 39th PSPB Badminton tournament

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Star-studded ONGC overcame a spirited IOCL to retain the the Men's and the Women's teams titles in the 39th Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) Inter-Unit Badminton tournament at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Greater Noida on Wednesday. 
 
ONGC’s men’s team won 3-1 and the women’s team emerged 2-1 winner in well-contested finals. However, IOCL claimed the Veteran's team title, beating ONGC 2-0 in the final.
 
In the Women’s team final, Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka (IOCL) upset the higher-ranked Rituparna Das (ONGC) 21-19, 17-21, 21-13. Under pressure, Rituparna made more unforced errors and lost the third game tamely.
 
In the doubles, Rutaparna Panda and the experienced Ashwini Ponnappa got the measure of IOCL pair Aparna Balan and N Sikki Reddy 21-18, 21-17 to draw parity.
 
In the decider between P C Thulasi and Tanvi Lad (IOCL),Thulasi lost the first set but her superior fitness saw her win the next two quite comfortably with the scores reading as 14-21, 21-12, 21-9.
 
In the Men’s team final, ONGC took the lead with H S Prannoy beating P Vishnuvardhan 21-16, 21-19 and then B Sai Praneeth made it 2-0 for the winners as he humbled Ajay Jayaram 21-13, 21-11.
 
In the  doubles, IOCL pulled back in a thrilling encounter when their pair of M R Arjun and Chirag Shetty beat Praneeth and Prannoy 21-16, 22-24, 21-14.
 
The fourth match, a singles between the determined Sourabh Verma (ONGC) and the talented Priyanshu Rajawat (IOCL) was fiercely fought. Seventeen-year-old Priyanshu put up a spirited fight but Sourabh’s experience and courtcraft helped him prevail 21-19, 20-22, 21-15 . 
 
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1235 bikers in Hubbali set world record for longest single line of cyclists

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The Hubbali Bicycle Club set the world record for the longest single line of cyclists here on India’s 70th Republic Day.  
 
The ride, comprising 1235 bicycle riders in single file, was the largest such gathering ever recorded, marking a new Guinness World Record, a press release from the club said.
 
The club, in partnership with Hero Cycles, had undertaken the feat in order to raise global awareness about the need to respect cyclist rights. The members also wanted to highlight the necessity of taking up cycling as the commonest mode of daily commute to workplaces for combating the worsening air quality and traffic congestion,
 
The record for the "longest single line of bicycles" was initiated by the United States of America in October 2010 with 914 cyclists and it was recognized by the Guinness World Record Team. 
 
Five years later in 2015, the Cyclist Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina broke the record with 984 bicycles. This record was broken by Bangladesh with 1186 cyclists riding for 3.2 Km in December 2016.
 
“It takes tremendous discipline, strength and sheer will for more than 1500 riders to hold the position in a single line over a span of four kilometres. The Guinness Judges disallowed bikes that failed to stay within the line or create a gap of more than three bike lengths from being counted for the record," the release said.
 
People from many places such as Dharwad, Belgaum, Kolhapur and Udaipur rode their bikes all the way to Hubbali especially for this occasion. Bicycle clubs from several partss of India, national level sportspersons and disabled riders participated in the event.
 
A spokesperson of Hero Cycles said the company was proud to be part of this initiative as a sponsor. “We stand by the cause of enabling bicycling as a respectable means of transport for everybody because the twin evils of air pollution and traffic congestion are making living spaces unlivable and it is time this was brought to the attention of society at large.”
 
Also present at the occasion were Pralhad Joshi, MP from Dharwad and Jagdish Shettar, Karnataka MLA. Amit Samarth, who recently became the first Asian to complete the Trans-Siberian Extreme bicycle race, was present along with a number of other national level sportspersons and professional bikers.
 
The Hubbali Bicycling Club describes itself as a group of enthusiasts with a passion for nature, health and friendship. It comprises of businessmen, doctors, professors, students and professionals and has been regularly organizing events and challenges under the affiliation of Audax India.
 
Audax India Randonneurs (AIR) is an all-India organization of long-distance cyclists/ randonneurs, which is recognized by the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) for conducting and overseeing all Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRMs) and Audax events in India.
 
Randonneuring brevets consist of 100km, 200 km, 300 Km, 400 km and 600 km cycling marathons with time stipulations and these events are becoming increasingly popular in India, the release added.
 
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Prannoy, Praneeth take ONGC into final of PSPB badminton tourney

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Star-studded ONGC, with HS Prannoy and Sai Praneeth in their ranks, began their title defence for the Men’s Team Championships with a dominating performance, blanking their respective rivals to storm into the finals of the XXXIX PSPB Inter-Unit Badminton Tournament here on Tuesday.
 
Other leading players of the country taking part in the tournament include Sourabh Varma, Chirag Shetty, Ashwini Ponnappa, V Diju, R M V Gurusaidutt, Ajay Jayaram, Sameer Verma and Rituparna Das .
 
In the quarter-finals, ONGC thrashed hosts Engineers India Ltd. 3-0 and then overpowered OIL by identical an 3-0 margin in the semi-finals.
 
The semi-finals were, however, closely contested, even though the score of 3-0 does not reflect the intensity of the matches.
 
In the first match, Prannoy beat Orijit Chaliha (OIL) 21-12, 21-17. In the second singles, young Swaranraj Borah from OIL impressed with his talent against the experienced B Sai Praneeth but lost, after putting up a good fight, 11-21, 23-25.
 
The 21-year-old was again part of another good contest when he partnered Hirak Jyoti Neog 10 minutes after his singles match but they lost in another thrilling three-setter to the pair of Pranaav J Chopra and Tarun Kona, 10-21, 21-16, 9-21.
 
ONGC  will play Indian Oil in the finals scheduled to be played on Wednesday.
 
In the women’s team championship, ONGC defeated MRPL 2-0 to make it to the finals where they will face off against the experienced IOCL team who defeated EIL 2-0 in their semi-finals.
 
Wednesday will also witness the start of the individual competitions where defending champions Rituparna Das and Sourabh Verma ( ONGC) will be endeavoring to retain their titles.
 
Earlier in the day, the 39th edition of the prestigious tournament was inaugurated by Mr. J C Nakra, Chairman & Managing Director, Engineers India Ltd. in the presence of dignitaries who included Mr. V C Bhandari (Director HR), Mr. Sunil Bhatia (Director Finance), Mr. Ashok Kalra (ED, HR), Mr. S. Haldar (Member Secretary, PSPB). 
 
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India's Ambati Rayudu suspended from bowling in international cricket

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) today said that India's batsman and part-time off-spinner Ambati Rayudu has been suspended from bowling in international cricket after being reported for suspect action two weeks ago.
 
"The player elected not to submit to a test of his bowling action within the stipulated period of 14 days of being reported for a suspect action, and therefore he has been suspended with immediate effect in accordance with clause 4.2 of the ICC regulations, which can be found here," a press release from ICC said.
 
The suspension will remain in place until he is tested, and can demonstrate he is able to bowl with a legal action, it said.
 
The 33-year-old player was reported on January 13 for a suspect action during the first one-day international of India's ODI series against Australia in Sydney.
 
However, according to Article 11.5 of the Regulations and with the consent of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Rayudu may be allowed to bowl in domestic cricket events played under the auspices of the BCCI, the release added.
 
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Hardik Pandya to join team in NZ, KL Rahul part of India A squad

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday asked Hardik Pandya to join the Indian team in New Zealand and said K L Rahul would be part of the India A squad for the last three one-day games against England Lions, hours after it lifted the suspension orders imposed on them.
 
The suspension orders were issued by the Board's Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) on January 11 on the two young cricketers for their sexist comments on a television show, Koffee with Karan, hosted by well-known filmmaker Karan Johar.
 
"Following the CoA’s decision to lift the bans on Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, the Senior selection committee has decided to include Hardik Pandya in the squad for the series against New Zealand. KL Rahul will meanwhile join the India A squad that is playing 5 one-day games against England Lions in Thiruvananthapuram," a press release from BCCI said.
 
"Hardik Pandya will be sent to New Zealand to join the team at the earliest and KL Rahul will join the India A squad to play the last 3 one-day games against England Lions," the release added.
 
The CoA had, by emails dated 11.01.2019, and in exercise of Rule 41(6) of the Constitution of BCCI, suspended Pandya and Rahul in view of the allegations of misconduct against them, pending adjudication of the allegations under Rule 46 of the approved BCCI Constitution.
 
"Since the adjudication of all allegations of misconduct against any cricketer registered with, inter alia, the BCCI is required to be undertaken by the BCCI Ombudsman, whose appointment is pending directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the CoA is the of the view that the interim suspension orders dated 11.01.2019 should be presently lifted with immediate effect," a statement from the CoA earlier on Thursday had said.
 
"The above matter and decision has been taken with the concurrence of the Learned Amicus Curiae, Mr. P.S. Narasimha. In view of the above, the suspension orders dated 11.01.2019 is immediately lifted pending appointment and adjudication of the allegations by the BCCI Ombudsman," the statement added.
 
The telecast of the episode featuring the two cricketers had taken place during the Indian team's tour of Australia and the players' remarks had attracted a lot of criticism. They were suspended by the BCCI from playing any form of cricket and asked to return to India to face an enquiry and proceedings.
 
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Indian team's showing in Asian Cup will have big positive impact on domestic football; Gurpreet Sandhu

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India’s performance in the AFC Asian Cup will have a tremendous positive impact on domestic football, according to  goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu.
 
"As many 21 out of the 23 players in the team were playing at such a stage for the first time. That is itself a big achievement. The good showing in such a premier and prestigious tournament will have huge impact on Indian football," the ace goalkeeper said.
 
"We want to take it from here. It is important for us to deliver on the big stages and we shall do so," Gurpreet said.
 
"This team can go places if we remain united, and the game plan is in the right place. We are out of the tournament but we can certainly do more than we did,” he stated.
 
India had begun their campaign with a convincing 4-1 victory over Thailand. But thereafter, the Blue Tigers bowed out in the first round after losing back to back matches against hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.
 
"We were not at our best against Bahrain," he admitted. "I had to make sure that we were in the game till the very last minute. It was difficult physically and mentally as they were coming at us all guns blazing. We fought till the end but fell short."
 
Gurpreet, who was also a part of the 2011 Asian Cup squad maintained the “team matched their opponents in all the three matches.”
 
“We fought and there weren't any one-sided games. We matched our opponents every minute and were even better than them on many occasions. We got points on the board, and showed that we could match our opponents,” he opined.
 
In 2011, India had also lost to Bahrain by a 2-5 margin in the first round. 
 
Meanwhile, Pyari Xaxa’s 68th-minute goal proved to be the winner as Indian women beat Hong Kong by a solitary goal in the second friendly football match.
 
With the victory, India ended their campaign in Hong Kong, winning both the friendly matches and will now be heading to Indonesia for further challenges.
 
The Indian women are preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifiers Round 2, and will now be playing matches against Indonesia next on January 27 and 30.
 
Head coach Maymol Rocky maintained that both the matches provided her the opportunity to experiment with tactics in a competitive environment.
 
“We experimented a lot with our tactics. Most importantly, we got the chance to do it against a quality opponent. We wanted to test some permutations and combinations, and our aim was to make the most out of the series in terms of experimenting,” said Maymol.
 
India had earlier defeated Hong Kong 5-2 in the first friendly match on January 21.
 
“We knew this match would be different. You cannot expect two back to back high goal scoring games against the same opponents. They (Hong Kong) knew our strengths and kept a compact shape while defending deep,” she explained.
 
“Our aim was to gather valuable match experience. In terms of development, a 1-0 win aids more as compared to a win by a higher margin,” she added.
 
Midfielder Sangita Basfore stated that “both the matches served their purpose.”
 
“While the first match boosted our confidence massively, the second helped us to learn concentration in a high-stress environment,” Sangita felt.
 
“A winning momentum further helps us boost our confidence. Every team presents its own challenges and so will Indonesia. We are ready and prepared for them,” Maymol added.
 
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